Maryland field hockey opens 2021 campaign with win over Michigan State

(Courtesy of Maryland Athletics)

After 477 days since their last official game, the Terps started off the 2021 season with a 2-0 victory against the Spartans. This is the Terps 13th consecutive victory against the Spartans and 24th consecutive season opening win. 

“What a great feeling,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “I couldn’t be happier for the women and our staff. We are excited to get out of the gate and play some good brand of field hockey.”

That wasn’t the only milestone of the afternoon as Virginia Beach native sophomore forward Sam Zywna scored her first career collegiate goal with under two minutes to go in the second quarter. 

“That was the first field I ever played field hockey on,” Zwyna said. “I won a middle school city championship, to high school city championship, to club championships there. So, now to be able to play a collegiate game and score my first goal, it’s just like awesome to have my teammates with me cheering me on. It was amazing.”

After a scoreless first quarter, midfielder Kyler Greenwatt scored a goal off a penalty shot two minutes into the second quarter. Defender Riley Donnelly was credited with assists on both goals.

The Terps outplayed the Spartans all over the field. The Terps outshot the Spartans 18-2 with 10 shots on goal for Maryland and only one for Michigan State. Maryland also held Michigan to only two penalty shots while taking eight. Stout defense from Maryland was key, as Michigan State was held without a shot in the final three quarters. 

“We did well slowing the tempo down and controlling the game through systematic, tactical hockey,” Meharg said. “That was super exciting to see us control the game like that. I’m super pleased with the maturity to control a game through tactical play.” 

The win also featured several newcomers in the lineup including transfer defender Maura Verleg and freshman defender Rayne Wright. Both players made their debuts in the starting lineup, while freshman forward/midfielder Anna Castaldo came off the bench as a substitute.

The Terps will remain in Virginia Beach and take on Northwestern at 3 p.m. on Sunday. 

“The Northwestern-Maryland matchup is super exciting,” Meharg said. “It’s going to be a more even game when it comes to possession.”

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